Hsiao-Tuan Chao Lab




Aug. 9, 2021 ­- Congratulations to MSTP Graduate Student Christina Magyar for being selected to give a poster presentation at the 2021 American Society for Human Genetics annual meeting! This is a wonderful recognition of the importance of her collaborative study with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network for the ASHG community. Christina will be presenting our study “Novel PRUNE1 c.933G>A (p.Thr311=) synonymous splice variant induces exon 7 skipping and leads to an atypical presentation of NMIHBA syndrome”. Kudos!

Aug. 9, 2021 ­- Congratulations to Dr. Maimuna Paul for being selected to give a platform presentation at the 2021 American Society for Human Genetics annual meeting! This is a wonderful recognition of the importance of her collaborative study with Drs. Anna Duncan and Pankaj Agrawal at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital for the ASHG community. Maimuna will be presenting our discovery genetics study “Extremely rare variants in EIF4A2 are associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by hypotonia, intellectual disability, and epilepsy”. Kudos!

July 23, 2021 ­- We are humbled and very grateful for the support of the EBF3 HADDS Foundation to advance our translational research efforts for EBF3-related conditions. The Foundation gifted a generous donation of $25,000 to support the laboratory’s efforts to further investigate and understand the effects of the EBF3 gene in individuals living with HADDS. The contribution was made possible by over 500 donors from over 15 countries in the growing global HADDS community. Thank you to the families and friends of the EBF3 HADDS Foundation! 

July 21, 2021 ­- Congratulations to John Hayes for preparing to start his Master’s program at Texas A&M in Engineering! We look forward to his continued success!   

May 26, 2021 ­- Congratulations to Cole Deisseroth for receiving the Child Neurology Foundation’s 2021 Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Summer Research Scholarship! Every year, the Child Neurology Foundation awards a $3,500 scholarship to support a medical student’s  clinical research in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities in children, conducted under the direction of a child neurology/NDD subspecialist, during summer break. Cole is a first-year medical student in the BCM MSTP studying Early B-Cell Factor 3 (EBF3)-related Hypotonia, Ataxia, and Delayed Development Syndrome (HADDS) to elucidate the genotype-phenotype spectrum and correlate developmental delays with variant type and location.

May 24, 2021 ­- We are thrilled to receive the 2021 Mark A. Wallace Endowment Award for our collaborative study “Molecular and Neural Circuit Mechanisms in Autism and Neuropsychiatric Disorders”. This study is led by Dr. Chao (PI), Drs. Robin Kochel and Avner Meoded (co-PI’s), and Vanesa Lerma, M.A.

May 18, 2021 ­- PREP Scholar Harim Delgado-Seo presented her research study “Investigation the behavioral hallmarks of teneurin dysfunction in flies and mice” at the 2021 PREP Scholar Research Symposium. Congratulations Harim on a beautiful talk and stellar discoveries! The BCM PREP Scholars program supports underrepresented college graduates to prepare for biomedical PhD studies.

May 3, 2021 ­- Post-doctoral researcher Dr. Maimuna Paul presented her research discoveries on the role of liprin-alpha proteins in neurodevelopmental disorders at the NRI Seminar Series. Congratulations Maimuna on a beautiful talk and exciting discoveries!

April 17-22, 2021 - Kudos to Cole Deisseroth for a stellar poster presentation on his study “Integrated deep phenotypic and mutational approach defines EBF3-related HADD syndrome genotype-phenotype relationships” at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.

April 20, 2021 ­- Wonderful poster presentations from Dr. Maimuna Paul, Harim-Delgado-Seo, Cole Deisseroth, and John Hayes for their research studies in the neurogenetic and circuit basis of neurodevelopmental disorders using human, fruit fly, and mouse model studies at the 2021 Department of Pediatrics Annual Research Symposium.

April 5, 2021 ­- MSTP student Cole Deisseroth presented his research discoveries on genotype-phenotype relationships, diagnostics, and prognostics in EBF3-related HADDS and 10q26-deletion syndrome at the NRI Seminar Series. Congratulations Cole on a beautiful talk and exciting discoveries!

March 4, 2021 ­- We are so excited to celebrate PREP Scholar Harim Delgado-Seo’s acceptance to the BCM Neuroscience Graduate Program! Kudos to an amazing neuroscientist!

Feb. 28, 2021 - Chao Lab celebrates Rare Disease Day to raise awareness about rare diseases and their impact on individuals and their families. Dr. Chao spoke about the impact of the Undiagnosed Odyssey and Rare Disorders at the 2021 Texas Rare Diseases Day Symposium.

Feb. 4, 2021 - MSTP Student Cole Deisseroth is selected to be part of the scientific program at the American Academy of Neurology Virtual Annual Meeting (April 17-22, 2021). He will be presenting his paper entitled “Integrated deep phenotypic and mutational approach defines EBF3-related HADD syndrome genotype-phenotype relationships” as a poster presentation at the top neurology meeting. Congratulations Cole!

Feb. 1, 2021 - Chao Lab joins the HADDS Foundation and community to celebrate HADDS Awareness month. We are honored to be a part of the research and advocacy efforts.


Dec. 21, 2020 - Congratulations to Child Neurology Basic Neuroscience pathway resident, Daniel Calame! Our paper identifying that Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2 Alpha Kinase 2 (EIF2AK2) gene variants cause symptoms akin to Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease is published in Neurology Genetics. Hypomyelinating leukodystrophies (HLD) are a group of rare genetic disorders characterized by degeneration of the brain’s white matter due to inadequate development of the myelin sheath, the fatty insulator that surrounds nerve fibers. An archetype of these disorders is the Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), which is caused by mutations in the Proteolipid protein 1 (PLP1) gene. This is the most common type of HLD and manifests in infancy or early childhood. A comprehensive analysis reveals that EIF2AK2 variants can lead to clinical phenotypes mimicking PMD. View paper.

Dec. 9, 2020 - Sahana Murthy’s beautiful images illustrating the complexity of the mouse cortex and hippocampus was selected to be part of the cover art for the 2021 BCM Department of Pediatrics Research Symposium.

Nov. 9, 2020 - PREP Scholar Harim Delgado-Seo presented her research discoveries on teneurins in neurodevelopment at the 2020 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Congratulations Harim!

Aug. 13, 2020 - Abled, Same But Different, a book 16 years in the making, hit the virtual Amazon shelves in August, on a mission to educate the world about HADDS. Abled was written by Cathleen Morita, from Hawaii, and mother to one of the first individuals diagnosed with HADDS.

June 29, 2020 - Pediatric neurologist and investigator, Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao receives the prestigious 2020 Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society for her important contributions to neuroscience research and rare diseases. She will present the Dodge lecture at the CNS-ICNA Conjoint meeting in October 2020. View press release.

March 20, 2020 - Drs. Dongxue Mao, Hugo Bellen, and Hsiao-Tuan Chao at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in collaboration with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network identified gene variants in the EIF2AK family of kinases leads to previously unidentified neurodevelopmental disorders - in which inappropriate response to stress (such as fever triggered by viral infections) triggers degeneration of the nerve fibers connecting major brain regions, collectively known as the white matter. This is the first study to demonstrate that variants in EIF2AK1 and EIF2AK2 result in neurologic disorders characterized by delayed development, white matter alterations, and neurologic regression. The study appears in the American Journal of Human Genetics. View press release.


July 25-27, 2019 – First Annual Hypotonia, Ataxia, and Delayed Development Syndrome Family Conference held at The Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Keynote lectures by Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao and Dr. Michael Wangler.

May 23, 2019 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao was honored with the 2019 Health Care Heroes Rising Star Award by the Houston Business Journal. She was one of four physicians to receive this recognition for her dedication to her patients, trainees, and her research discoveries in the field of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. View article.

April 9, 2019 – Darrion Nguyen awarded the 2019 Best Basic Science Poster prize for his abstract entitled “Elucidating the pathogenic role of EBF3 in HADD syndrome” from the BCM Department of Pediatrics Annual Research Symposium.

March 13, 2019 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao named new McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine. She is the College’s first McNair M.D./Ph.D. Scholar Alumni to also be named a McNair Scholar. The McNair Scholar program, supported by The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and managed by the McNair Medical Institute, identifies and recruits influential researchers in neuroscience, cancer and juvenile diabetes. Similarly, the McNair M.D./Ph.D. Scholars program trains highly motivated M.D./Ph.D. students as physician-scientists who split their time between conducting biomedical research while still caring for patients. View article.

March 11, 2019 – Nathan Bliss was one of four awardees nationwide to receive the competitive 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Grant by the Autism Science Foundation for his project to elucidate the role of teneurins in neurodevelopmental disorders. View article.


Dec. 19, 2018 – Dr. Maureen Handoko, Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao, and a team of physicians and researchers at the BCM Undiagnosed Diseases Network site identified the fourth known case of recurrent mosaic MTOR c.5930C>T (p.Thr1977Ile) variant to cause megalencephaly, asymmetric polymicrogyria, and cutaneous pigmentary mosaicism with intellectual disability. Their finding demonstrates the tissue variability in the mosaic expression of the recurrent p.Thr1977Ile MTOR variant and expands the clinical phenotype. The study appears in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A.

Oct. 2, 2018 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao awarded the 2018 National Institutes of Health Director’s High-Risk High-Reward DP5 Early Independence Award. This honor recognizes creative scientists who are working on highly innovative research to address major challenges in biomedical research. She is one of 11 researchers from across the country to be recognized in this award category. At BCM, she is the second recipient and the first physician-scientist to be awarded this honor since the inception of the award in 2011. The Early Independence Award will provide $1.25 million over 5 years to support her work on how single gene changes that alter transcriptional networks can affect communication between neurons. View article.

July 3, 2018 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao awarded the Child Neurology Society and Foundation’s 2018 Elterman Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation grant. The $100,000 grant will be awarded over two years to support Dr. Chao’s research into unraveling the genetic and circuit mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability, autism, and epilepsy. View article.

June 12, 2018 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao receives the prestigious 2018 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. This highly competitive Career Award for Medical Scientists provides $700,000 of research funding spread over five years to physician-scientists embarking on independent academic careers. View article.

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